From the Helm of Adamant 1: Blog 12 – May 2017

Adamant 1

 

June 7, 2017

The Abacos. They’re my favorite area of the Bahamas with many islands to visit, all of them no more than an hour or two apart and no ocean passages to make. It’s easy to find a protected harbour no matter which direction the winds blow from. Many cruisers arrive here in the late fall and will stay for the entire winter. There is so much to do and see in the Abacos – many cruisers come back year after year.

In my last entry, we had just arrived at Little Harbour, right on time to hunker down for yet another high-winds episode. After four days on a mooring ball there, we led the way out of the cut at high tide and crossed the last bit of Atlantic Ocean we would see for a month. Our destination was Hopetown, on Elbow Cay. We took a mooring ball inside the harbour instead of anchoring outside, launched the dinghy and headed ashore.

Adamant 2Walking around the town is like stepping back in time. The settlement was founded in 1785 by British loyalists seeking refuge from the American Revolution. Many of the original homes are still standing, some even have the original glass in the windows. They are painted in bright pastel colours, some with four or five different colours on the trim. How these places have survived the many hurricanes that have blown through over the years is a mystery.

The island is 4.5 miles long and only 1,080 yards wide at the widest point! No matter where you are you can hear the breakers pounding on the Atlantic side of the island. We walked every street in the settlement, admiring the homes and the flowers, taking pictures and stopping to chat with locals. There are loads of restaurants and many small boutiques to explore. One resort/restaurant will even let you use their pool and deck for as long as you want to stay.

Adamant 3The next stop was across the harbour for a tour of the iconic lighthouse built in 1864. It’s one of the last manually operated lighthouses in the world. The lamp burns pressurized kerosene oil with a wick and mantle. The lenses and burner equipment, weighing 8,000 pounds, float in a circular tub filled with 1,200 pounds of mercury. The lighthouse keeper must wind the 700 pound weights up to the top every two hours to keep the light rotating. Every time we visit Hopetown, we climb the 101 steps to take pictures from the top. From there you can see just how narrow the island is.

Adamant 4The next day we load up our snorkeling gear and walk over to the ocean side of the island. But first we need to fuel up on the local fare and a beer at the restaurant overlooking the ocean. The surf was high that day and no one stayed in very long. Not a problem as the beach was a wonderful place to spend a few hours!

Our buddy boats Folly and Island Pearl were anxious to move on as they both had commitments the following week on a different island. We dropped our moorings and made the short hop over to Marsh Harbour, the hub of the Abacos. Once anchored, we launched and went into the dinghy dock, all three boats loaded down with laundry, our first chore after having not seen a laundromat since Georgetown. We finally recalled the laundromat’s location, but we had trouble wrapping our heads around doing our laundry there. Folly’s crew decided not to, but we were desperate! I don’t think the building has seen any maintenance in a few years and most of the 20 washers available were disabled and/or filthy! We did find three to use, but they required US quarters, which meant a trip to Scotiabank to buy a few rolls of quarters so we could sort out the US from the Bahamian quarters. I ended up using the Bahamian quarters to pay for our vodka and rum at the liquor store!!

Adamant 5It was back to the boat with the clean laundry, then off to Maxwell’s, a grocery store that would rival any Canadian supermarket in size. What a treat to find the shelves stocked with fresh produce, real milk, not the long-life stuff, and loads of fresh bread. Their deli and meat counters were fantastic! Anyone watching us wandering around with our carts must have thought we had spent the last five months in the jungle! That night I made a seafood quiche with fresh broccoli and served it with a salad and croissants. Heaven!

Adamant 6The next day Folly and Island Pearl left and headed to Green Turtle Cay. We were on our own for the first time in over eight months. We walked the shoreline road for miles in each direction, getting exercise we hadn’t had in a long time. Of course, everyday we walked we had to stop at a different bar for a drink, mostly because it was over 100 degrees during the day! While we were in Marsh Harbour we ran into two other boats we had been travelling with off and on over the last few months and we also met another couple whose home port is our home town! It is a small world. After a quiet week in Marsh Harbour, we headed out to explore Treasure Cay, where the spectacular beach is, Guana Cay where the pig roast is and Man-O-War Cay which is another step back in time. But more on those islands later. Until next time…….

Adamant 7

  Adamant 8

 

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